A member of the Canine Jumping Forum, who is very knowledgeable about Susan Salo jump grids, described a grid on the Forum yesterday in response to a video I posted about 12′ spacing = sweet spot for my dogs. If you want to see that video, I posted in on my Facebook page.
Below is a video of a grid I set up as per Katarina’s suggestion. The first 3 bars had 4′ spacing between them and the last bar was either spaced 10′ or 9′ away. While I didn’t plan on stopping in my tracks and sending Lil through the grid, both of my dogs are trained to GO ON (forward sends), a necessary skill for NADAC distance challenges so I don’t think it affected the outcome.
I know my “handling” is not in keeping with SS’s method.. but my dogs have done a lot of grids and I like to mix things up by adding various things before grids, in this case a few hoops that happened to be in the vicinity or sending my dogs around an out-of view-tree at the end of the video so Lil was approaching the grid with a lot of speed. I like this particular set up as it encouraged Lil to take a longer than typical stride before jumping the final bar.
If you watch the video a second time and focus on Lil’s landing spots, I think you can see why I think she has a “preferred landing spot” that she is aiming for.. and hitting. As the session progressed, her take-off spots became closer to the final bar and she landed a bit longer those last few fast reps BUT you can see that her jumping arc length also decreased compared to earlier reps vs floating long.
I think most dogs are aiming for the spots they land on… and some dogs naturally land long (many BCs for example), and other dogs naturally land closer than what we humans think of as “ideal.”
My conclusion, based on 2+ years of obsessive observations, while sometimes using a “landing side” mat to extend my dog’s landing spots, is that I can influence where my dogs land but they will still tend to land closer than some dogs if left to their own devices. As long as my dogs motion is fluid and confident, which it appears to be, I can accept that this is just the way my dogs jump. End of story! …. but not the last post on this topic. HA HA